A man in a suit and tie walked over to Steene as the train began to move again. “Get up.”
Steene frowned. “I beg your pardon?”
“I said, get up, boy. I need a seat.”
The man was only about Steene’s age, wasn’t carrying anything, and looked to be in perfect health. There were plenty of straps hanging from the ceiling for standing passengers to hold onto, and Steene didn’t see any reason why the man deserved his seat.
“I’m getting out at the next stop,” Steene told him.
“I don’t care where you’re getting out, Collar.” The man’s voice was rising, and other passengers turned to stare. “Obey me, now!”
Out of the corner of his eye, Steene caught sight of the navy blue uniforms of two Watch officers moving in his direction, the crowd of standing passengers parting to let them go by. The officers were frowning — not at the man’s rudeness, but at the slave who wouldn’t give up his seat as ordered.
And Steene was reminded once again that everything worked differently now.
The series is set in an alternate world that is very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.
First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2: Book 1: The Collar and the Cavvarach
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.
Book 2: The Gladiator and the GuardBensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?
Click here to read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.
And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!
Book 3: The Student and the Slave
Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.
Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?
Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon.
later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her
husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at
Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since
her childhood, and to date has published fifteen books (three YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her
students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides
writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction),
scrapbooking, and international travel.
Connect with the Author Online:
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon